The village festa holds a prioritised place in the calendar of every Gozitan. Countdowns for the next feast begin months prior, with many locals involved in the preparation and planning that festas entail. Bands, fireworks, fundraising, church functions, revelry, street decorations, feast gear, music – there’s much to plan for an event attended by most of the island and plenty of tourists.
The village festa encompasses the island’s identity perfectly: on the one hand you have the sombre church functions, and on the other, the relentless partying, all in the name of a saint, or two!
It goes without saying then: Christianity has a big role to play in the lives of the locals and, for many, the love they hold for their patron saint knows no bounds. But, they also love to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate a loved one (in this case a saint), if not with a huge event?
This is the Gozo festa. A weekly summer appointment that moves from one village to the next, in one big competition over who has the best bands, the best fireworks, and the best deco. Without a doubt then, there’s plenty to see. It’s all done by volunteers but there’s nothing amateur about feasts, especially so when it comes to fireworks displays.
Here’s a list of this year’s feasts – they’re well worth a visit if you’re on the island when one’s happening. The main (and bigger) ones are in bold.
29 June – St. Peter and St. Paul, Nadur
7 July – The Visitation of Our Lady, Gharb
14 July – Our Lady of Relief, Kercem
21 July – St. George, Victoria
28 July – St. Margaret, Sannat
4 August – St. Joseph, Qala
11 July – St. Laurence, San Lawrenz
15 August – The Assumption of Our Lady, Victoria
25 July – The Assumption of Our Lady, Zebbug
1 September – Our Lady of Loreto, Ghajnsielem
8 September – The Nativity of Our Lady, Xaghra
All feasts run for the three days preceding the main feast day, with activities running until early morning. The main feast day itself is characterised by a solemn mass at 8.30am or 9.00am, a band march and revelry at 11.00am, and a solemn procession at 6.00pm, followed by a final band march.
With so much going on, your stay in Gozo is bound to be a memorable one!
Gozo awaits 🙂